There are remarkable indications that the bonding values that guided the All Progressives Congress (APC) into the 2015 general elections were truncated after the victory of the party at the polls. Apparently, the ruling party has seemingly transformed into a theatre of Cold War between major power blocs since the inauguration of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
National Daily investigation revealed that APC is being ravaged by battle of wit between notable groups contending for hegemonic influence over the determination of who gets what, when and how from the APC government.
The leading groups in the Cold War within the party government include: The Aso Rock Cabal (ARC); The Buhari Political Friends (BPF); The Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) and The Bukola Saraki (BS).
Highlights of the potency or weakness of the respective groups are made below.
The Aso Rock Cabal Camp (ARC) currently is about the most powerful of all the four groups. The group is considered the most powerful because they are led by family members of the President. The President is believed to have 120 percent loyalty to the group. The President would rather go wild than question the decisions of this group. Mermen’s of the group are perceived to have unwieldy influence over President Buhari. They determine who sees the President and who gets the favours of and from the President or who does not.
The ARC is conceived to be led by Mamman Daura, the invisible leader, practically, dominating the affairs of governance in the country, in the stead of Buhari.
Other members of the ARC include the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who was raised by Mamman Daura. In this inner caucus is the DG of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Lawal Daura. They are so powerful that they sent the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari, out of the United Kingdom, prevented her from seeing her sick husband. They did it and President Buhari did not question the action. It is being suspected that General Yusuf Buratai and Minister of Internal Affairs, retired General Dambazzau are also members of the ARC.
The ARC developed the psyche that the fear of Bola Tinubu is the beginning of wisdom. Thus, the group lives in perpetual phobia of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and is ready to go any length to weaken him. ARC members developed the consciousness that Tinubu has to be rendered ineffective by all means, especially, in the political calculations towards 2019. Thus, they have kept extreme vigilance on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. They pray fervently that President Buhari must not die to sustain their hegemony in the APC government.
There symptoms that the ARC has made alliance with Senator Bukola Saraki and his group. And they bent on convincing the President to support him publicly regardless of the cost to his integrity.
This is identified as the crux of the outburst of Senator Shehu Sani about the baboons and jackals in the APC government and the big and small animals in the polity; the metaphor he used to describe the activities of the cabals in governance.
President trusts the ARC more than any other group. The DSS already told Nigerians that Senator Saraki is “not corrupt.” The ARC hates Ibrahim Magu, the acting EFFC chairman, with passion. They have common interest to see that Magu never emerges as EFCC chairman.
The desperation to keep Bola Tinubu ineffectual remains the common interest binding the ARC and the BS camp.
The Buhari Political Friends (BPF)
These are political friends of Buhari who are considered no threat to the control of the presidency by the ARC. They are largely tolerated and allowed their space to do what they wanted to do as long as they understood their boundaries. This group has no influence whatsoever on the President. The president does not show any dislike for them but he is in no way committed to any of them. He has not expressed any form of lack of confidence in them but has not expressly showed any form of confidence in them. Members of these group include Ministers such as Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola and others.
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Some of them are not antagonistic to the Bukola Saraki camp. Though, they have not shown openly their loyalty to Saraki. This group is secretly interested in clipping the wings of the BAT group but is not openly expressing that desire.
They brazenly demonstrated their efficacy in the controversy over the Ondo State governorship ticket of the APC and the subsequent election in which they sponsored Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor.
This has put them in the good book of the ARC. For those of them that are of Yoruba extraction, they are in a quandary. They have no choice but to tread carefully because the Yoruba consensus now is that Bola Tinubu should not be allowed to be humiliated by the ARC and others gunning for him.
It is not clear if this current protective support of Bola Tinubu by Yoruba leaders would translate to votes in 2019 across Yoruba land.
The Bola Ahmed Tinubu Camp
This is noticeably the smartest but currently the weakest of all the groups. This camp has been suffering from lack of vision and proper planning and is paying dearly for it. In the days leading to the elections, the leadership of the group failed to pay attention to several signals of potential dangers that the group may be at risk in a Buhari administration.
Currently, the leadership of the group is playing “good boy” to the administration as much as it could. It recognizes the threat of ARC and it is not willing to dare the cabal. This group is compelled to show its loyalty to the President at all times even in absurd situations such as the killing of the Yoruba people in Ile-Ife in Osun State. Even when one of the co-opted leading member of the group, Senator Ali Ndume, was suspended from the Senate by the Saraki camp, there was not a whimper from any other member of the group or its leadership. The leadership of the group is working assiduously to save self and its political relevance.
The Bukola Saraki group:
The group is about the most sophisticated and most calculative in forming alliances at different times.
The sagacity of the leaders of the group led to defeat the BAT in the contest for the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly, including the battle to ‘destroy’ Senate President Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in the false assets declaration prosecution.
The BS has consolidated to be a solid bloc against the presidency.